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Hey friends! Welcome to the Lucky Few Podcast where we are shifting the narrative by shouting the worth of people with Down syndrome. With your hosts, Heather Avis, Micha Boyett, and Mercedes Lara. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/theluckyfewpod/support
42 Episodes
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Another week back to school and we feel all kinds of grateful for the amazing teachers in our lives who literally make learning happen for our kiddos every single day.  Teachers, we’re here to say that we see you, we love you, and we appreciate you!  That’s why today we’re answering questions from you dear listeners about how teachers can modify their classrooms, advocate for all of their students, and become lifelong learners in the process!  Because let’s face it, we ALL have some learning to do, we ALL have some listening to do, and we ALL have some believing-the-best-in-every-student to do!  It’s time to partner with teachers to counter a system that is not in place to support our kiddos with different abilities so we can watch our kids (and their peers!) grow!So friends, join us for a chat about some of the most important adults in our kids' lives, all the ways you can partner with your child’s teacher, and what Heather wishes she knew when she was an educator.  Oh, and we may or may not have a special live event announcement coming your way soon, stay tuned!__SHOW LINKSStay tuned for a super special live event announcement from us! All you need to know right now is that you’ll want to be there, (oh and it’s happening in November!)Find a Buddy Walk near you to celebrate Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October!LET’S CHATEmail hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com with your questions and Good News for future episodes.HELP US SHIFT THE NARRATIVEInterested in partnering with The Lucky Few Podcast as a sponsor? Email hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com for more information!CHECK OUT HEATHER’S NEW BOOKScoot Over and Make Some Room: Creating a Space Where Everyone Belongs by Heather Avis is NOW available on Amazon.Head to Youtube and subscribe to The Lucky Few’s NEW Channel: In Search of The Lucky Few. Click here to start watching now!--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/theluckyfewpod/support
Anyone else feel overwhelmed and under-qualified when the back to school season begins?!  We know we do! But here’s the thing: when it comes to your child’s education, YOU DO YOU.  If you doing you means homeschooling, great!  If it means a fully inclusive general education setting, great!  If it means a special education class setting, great!  This week we’re here to say that we are cheering for you and your child with Down Syndrome at school, at home, and in every space you occupy.  Because when it comes down to it, choosing the “perfect” (if there is such a thing) classroom for your child with Down Syndrome depends on so much more than meets the eye.  We get it, family dynamics shift.  School districts have limited options.  Working parents need to have their kids in school full time.  Accessing the resources to advocate for full inclusion is challenging.  Most education systems are not built for kids with different abilities.  The list goes on, friends.Long story short, we’re all doing the best with what we know.  We’re not all going to die on the same education hill.  In fact, we’re all on different hills supporting our kids and this community the best that we can.  Truth be told, people with Down Syndrome (and all of us!) are lifelong learners.  Remember that we can shout the worth of our kiddos from any platform, in every classroom!  Join us for a chat about all the education options, why we have chosen our paths, and how to feel good about your decisions for your child!  Here’s to lifelong learning, friends!__SHOW LINKSRead “Teaching Math to People With Down Syndrome” by DeAnna HorstmeierCheck out Terry Brown’s So Happy To Learn educational resources for students with Down SyndromeWatch “Not Special Needs” on YoutubeLET’S CHATEmail hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com with your questions and Good News for future episodes.HELP US SHIFT THE NARRATIVEInterested in partnering with The Lucky Few Podcast as a sponsor? Email hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com for more information!CHECK OUT HEATHER’S NEW BOOKScoot Over and Make Some Room: Creating a Space Where Everyone Belongs by Heather Avis is NOW available on Amazon.Head to Youtube and subscribe to The Lucky Few’s NEW Channel: In Search of The Lucky Few. Click here to start watching now!--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/theluckyfewpod/support
It’s official friends, we are back to school.. and we are taking you all with us!  First things first, let’s talk IEPs with the founders of The Inclusive Education Project: Amanda Selogie and Vickie Brett.  These two bright and beautiful lawyers use their extensive knowledge of education law and their passion for people with different abilities to educate families on special education rights and connect them with pro bono legal aid.  And fortunately for us, they’re sharing their top IEP tips and strategies today!  They encourage all of you parents to follow up (in writing) about post-IEP-meeting tasks, provide clear expectations, and create (reasonable) deadlines for everyone on your child’s team.  And remember, if something in the classroom is happening differently for your child than all the other students, it needs to be on the IEP.There is truly no better way to kick off our September Back to School series than with Amanda, Vickie, and their nonprofit - The Inclusive Education Project.  And friends, you can keep the IEP conversation going.. find all the special education information you need and more on Amanda and Vickie’s podcast!  Good luck with all of your back-to-school adventures!  We are cheering you on, friends!___SHOW LINKSConnect with Inclusive Education ProjectWebsiteIEP PodcastInstagramTwitterFacebook PageFacebook Community Group Fundraiser EventLET’S CHATEmail hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com with your questions and Good News for future episodes.HELP US SHIFT THE NARRATIVEInterested in partnering with The Lucky Few Podcast as a sponsor? Email hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com for more information!CHECK OUT HEATHER’S NEW BOOKScoot Over and Make Some Room: Creating a Space Where Everyone Belongs by Heather Avis is NOW available on Amazon.Head to Youtube and subscribe to The Lucky Few’s NEW Channel: In Search of The Lucky Few. Click here to start watching now!--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/theluckyfewpod/support
This week on The Lucky Few Podcast, we are remembering James Eugene Lanto, better known as Jimbo, and even better known as Jimbo_Is_The_Man on Instagram.  Oh friends, where do we begin?  How do we honor such a valued life and such an important part of this community?  You see, for many of us in the online Down Syndrome world, Jimbo’s Instagram account was the first glimpse of what an adult life could look like for our little ones with extra chromosomes.  Jimbo’s spirit seen through those little squares on our phones gave us immense hope and great joy for our child’s future.  And for those of us who have other children without Down Syndrome, the loving action of Jimbo’s sisters erased our fears that our children’s siblings might one day grow bitter or resentful against their brother or sister with Down Syndrome.  In the eyes of Jimbo’s sisters (and all of his 10 other siblings), Jimbo was more than enough just as he was, never a burden, and always a blessing.So friends, you know that Jimbo truly is the man, and his life deserves a celebration.  Who better to honor Jimbo than his sisters?  (Again!)  That’s right, we are re-releasing a very special episode featuring two of Jimbo’s sisters, Pam and Julie, that our long time listeners might recall as only our 2nd official episode of this podcast!  You see, Jimbo truly has been part of our journey since the very beginning.  We want to thank Jimbo’s entire family, especially his wonderful sisters, for sharing their light and truth with us.  You’ve given us hope and joy like no other.  And Jimbo, you did more for this world in 57 years than most could do with 500.  We are so lucky to have crossed paths with you and your family.  You truly make us #TheLuckyFew._SHOW LINKSRemember Jimbo on Instagram: @jimbo_is_the_manCare to listen (or re-listen) to some of our older episodes? You can find them all here.LET’S CHATEmail hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com with your questions and Good News for future episodes.HELP US SHIFT THE NARRATIVEInterested in partnering with The Lucky Few Podcast as a sponsor? Email hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com for more information!--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/theluckyfewpod/support
Do you want to help us shift the Down Syndrome narrative in a super practical and very simple way?  Then this is the episode for you!We talk a lot about how doctors deliver a Down Syndrome diagnosis on this podcast, but we've never discussed doctors and diagnoses and DS with actual medical researchers!  Meg Wilkes and Stephanie Meredith are literally shifting the diagnosis narrative through their research.  Meg is pursuing a masters degree in genetic counseling at the University of South Carolina and her thesis is on: ‘Redefining the Essential Informational Needs of Parents Receiving a Diagnosis of Down Syndrome.’  Stephanie is the medical outreach director at the University of Kentucky who is overseeing Meg’s research, and her 19-year-old son has Down Syndrome!  Thankfully, this dynamic medical duo knows that a newborn with DS has a lot more than health issues and doctors appointments ahead of them, and that’s why they’ve created a survey for all of you!  Parents of children with Down Syndrome, you’re invited to tell Meg all about your diagnosis experience:  what you needed to know, what you did not need to know, and what you wish you knew!  Take the 10-15 minute survey, tell a friend (or 10), and help us redefine the Down Syndrome diagnosis. It’s time to bridge the gap between the matter-of-fact-scary-medical stuff that the doctors warn you about, and the wonderful-life-giving-hopeful stuff that social media advocates promise!  So join us for and our fabulous guests as we chat about the research that will challenge doctors to rethink the Down Syndrome diagnosis.  Then, share your thoughts by taking Meg’s survey!__SHOW LINKSSurvey for ParentsSurvey for Genetic CounselorsStephanie is the author of the materials on lettercase.org as well as the co-author of the books on downsyndromepregnancy.org. Stephanie is also a contributer to Amy Julia Becker’s blog, you can read her post here.  And most recently, she wrote for Think Inclusive.SHOW SPONSOR: PRIDE SOCKSPride Socks empowers wearers to be proud of who they are! They also collaborate with Ruby’s Rainbow to help send individuals w/Down Syndrome to college! That’s right, a great product with a great goal! Visit https://pridesocks.com/ and use code: theluckyfew at checkout for 15% off your purchase!--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/theluckyfewpod/support
“This is a complicated issue, but I truly believe that the Down Syndrome community is powerful enough to tackle this,” Lindsey Strickland on sexual abuse against children with Down Syndrome.  We are so grateful to have our wise friend, Lindsey here to engage in this important conversation and empower us all to make a change.  We know sexual abuse is tough to talk about, but our kids are #WorthTheConversation.  Thankfully, today’s guest is well-versed in this conversation.  Lindsey has spent many years working for Child Protective Services as a case manager for at-risk families, and she also grew up with foster siblings who had experienced abuse.  After working as a child advocate in a sexual assault clinic, she began to educate her community about the realities of child sexual abuse.  Her extensive background, heart for outreach, and 6 year-old-son with Down Syndrome all lead her to create Worth The Conversation. Lindsey’s online platform serves to empower parents to protect their children with different abilities.  She acknowledges the many risk factors for our kids and encourages families to combat those dangers with fierce advocacy and clear communication.  Remember listeners, you have the right to be present during your child’s therapies, the right to drop in unannounced, and the right to set expectations and boundaries with your child’s doctors, teachers, aides, baby sitters, care givers, and more.  Let’s shout their worth and protect our kiddos, it’s definitely #WorthTheConversation.---SHOW LINKSFollow Worth The Conversation on Instagram and be sure to check out their website for more resources.Keep up with Lindsey Strickland and her family on Instagram at @lindseystrickland.Read Teaching Children With Down Syndrome About Their Bodies, Boundaries, and Sexuality by Terry Couwenhoven.Read God Made All of Me by Justin & Lindsey Holcomb.Read Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski, PhD.Lindsey used Terry Brown’s So Happy To Learn teaching methods to homeschool Ben, check those out here!LET’S CHATEmail hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com with your questions and Good News for future episodes.HELP US SHIFT THE NARRATIVEInterested in partnering with The Lucky Few Podcast as a sponsor? Email hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com for more information!--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/theluckyfewpod/support
Hi friends- Mercedes & Andy Lara (@hooray4sunny) here!  We’ve been traveling with our three kiddos all summer long and you wouldn’t believe the stories we have for you!  Between all of our crazy fun adventures, we’ve picked up on quite a few #TravelHacks along the way, especially for children with different abilities!  Snacks, sunscreen, and no screen time are just a few of our keys to a fun vacation.  But we get it, traveling with kids isn’t always easy, especially if you’re traveling with people who don’t quite understand why your child responds a little differently to the world.  It’s okay to wonder why on earth you left the house in the first place when your child refuses to walk back to the car or stand in line.  And it’s okay to pack an entire pantry full of snacks to get you through the day.  What matters most is that you keep showing up.  The world needs to see your beautiful family and interact with your extraordinary children.  So friends, join us for the perfect episode to listen to on your next plane ride or road trip.  And remember, you are a narrative shifter and worth shouter no matter where you are!  Happy travels!---To join the Lara family on all their fun adventures, follow @hooray4sunny, @thatsmrslara, & @andylikeswords on Instagram!LET’S CHATEmail hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com with your questions and Good News for future episodes.HELP US SHIFT THE NARRATIVEInterested in partnering with The Lucky Few Podcast as a sponsor? Email hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com for more information!CHECK OUT HEATHER’S NEW BOOKScoot Over and Make Some Room: Creating a Space Where Everyone Belongs by Heather Avis is NOW available on Amazon.Head to Youtube and subscribe to The Lucky Few’s NEW Channel: In Search of The Lucky Few. Click here to start watching now!--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/theluckyfewpod/support
With all the chatter surrounding the recent videos from Shawn and Andrew East and their negative Down Syndrome diagnosis, we thought it best to chime in (with grace and compassion, we might add!).  The East’s have been extremely (and admirably!) open about their pregnancy journey thus far, but controversy arose when they shared what the media deemed “disappointing news” that their baby had markers for Down Syndrome, in their video, “pregnancy complications | the east family.”  Their next video titled, “answered prayers. | the east family,” featured the couple celebrating news that their baby would be born “healthy,” AKA without Down Syndrome.  Naturally, the online Down Syndrome community went wild.  And even more naturally, the media celebrated this “uplifting update” from the couple.  But how does someone with Down Syndrome or someone who has a loved one with Down Syndrome celebrate this?  How can we jump for joy that your child won’t be like ours? So friends, now that you’re all caught up on recent news, join us for a conversation all about health and Down Syndrome, fear of the unknown, the challenges of being a public figure, and grace for families with a potential diagnosis.  We’re shouting the worth of our kiddos extra hard right now, and giving lots of extra grace too. Because that’s what people with Down Syndrome have taught us to do.  Shawn and Andrew-- see why we are who we are, #TheLuckyFew.___SHOW LINKSRead, ‘As Long as the Baby’s Healthy’… But What If He’s Not? by Micha BoyettYou can find the videos everyone is talking about here: pregnancy complications | the east familyanswered prayers. | the east familyThe East’s Feature on The Today ShowLET’S CHATEmail hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com with your questions and Good News for future episodes.HELP US SHIFT THE NARRATIVEInterested in partnering with The Lucky Few Podcast as a sponsor? Email hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com for more information!CHECK OUT HEATHER’S NEW BOOKScoot Over and Make Some Room: Creating a Space Where Everyone Belongs by Heather Avis is NOW available on Amazon.Head to Youtube and subscribe to The Lucky Few’s NEW Channel: In Search of The Lucky Few. Click here to start watching now!--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/theluckyfewpod/support
Heather and Josh Avis (@theluckyfewofficial) here! This week, we’re answering a question that we get asked a whole lot!  “How has having two kids with Down Syndrome created our family norm?”  We should probably start by saying that we’ve never really been a family with “norms.”  The two of us moved to Hawaii just weeks after getting married at the ages of 20 and 23.  A few years later, we came back to California and adopted three kids (not all at once, thank goodness!).  Macyn is 11 with Down Syndrome, Truly is 8, and August is 5 with Down Syndrome.  Our free spirited nature definitely helped us adjust to the rollercoaster of these unique adoptions, but they still came with plenty of uncertainties.  How would our extended family react to having someone with Down Syndrome in the family?  How would having an older and younger sibling with Down Syndrome affect our middle daughter, Truly?  How would we ever create “normalcy” out of this?  One thing we do know for certain is that having two children with Down Syndrome has allowed us to know the fullness of humanity and we consider ourselves very, very lucky (hence our name, The Lucky Few!).Clearly, we have A LOT to cover today.  So friends, join us for a chat about our 17 years of marriage, our family vacation in Hawaii, and how Truly (and all of us!) have been made better because of Down Syndrome. ___Keep up with the Avis’s on Instagram and their website! For more on their family’s story, read The Lucky Few and Scoot Over and Make Some Room by Heather AvisJoin The Lucky Few mailing list for updates, stories, events, and more!Connect with Heather’s friend Christy on Instagram at @cjpics LET’S CHATEmail hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com with your questions and Good News for future episodes.HELP US SHIFT THE NARRATIVEInterested in partnering with The Lucky Few Podcast as a sponsor? Email hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com for more information!CHECK OUT HEATHER’S NEW BOOKScoot Over and Make Some Room: Creating a Space Where Everyone Belongs by Heather Avis is NOW available on Amazon.Head to Youtube and subscribe to The Lucky Few’s NEW Channel: In Search of The Lucky Few. Click here to start watching now!--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/theluckyfewpod/support
We believe that one of the most powerful ways to shift the Down Syndrome narrative is by creating meaningful friendships with people who have DS.  But we’re not just talking about those forced, obligatory, hero-complex infused friendships. We’re talking about people without DS who might have no previous interaction with the DS world intentionally creating meaningful friendships with their peers who have extra chromosomes.  But let’s be real, those friendships aren’t easy, especially at the grade school level.  Parents of kids with Down Syndrome often feel overwhelmed when trying to make playdates for their child with peers who do not have DS.  Likewise, parents of neurotypical children might feel the same discomfort when thinking about how to initiate a friendship their child’s peer with Down Syndrome.  Oh friends, it’s so hard.  But, who better to talk about doing hard things than Heather Avis? Open and honest with her 11-year-old daughter Macy’s friendship journey on @theluckyfewofficial, Heather is tackling this topic on behalf of all three of our hosts today.  Alongside Heather is her friend Rachel Haack, a mother of five girls ages 2-13, an interior decorator, a devoted wife, a future clinical psychologist, and a true narrative shifter.Today, Heather and Rachel are recounting the friendship story between their 11-year-old daughters.  Macy and London are two friends with different amounts of chromosomes brought together by two very, very intentional mothers.  When Rachel found out that the Avis’s were moving to her city, she immediately reached out to Heather and assured her that Macy would always be welcome in her home.  Shortly after, Heather dropped Macy off for her first solo playdate, and we’ll let you listen to this week’s episode to find out the rest.  (Spoiler: this story only gets better).  Today, Rachel’s home is a place Macy can be herself and play with her friends without the fear that once accompanied a playdate.  These mamas credit communication, genuine desire for friendship, willingness to embrace the discomfort, and lots and lots of grace as the reasons for such a beautiful friendship.So mamas of all kiddos, recap those playdates together, have grace as we ALL learn, and let your kids have fun with people a little different from them. We’ll all be better for it.  ---Keep up with Rachel Haack and her family on Instagram at @raescornerblog LET’S CHATEmail hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com with your questions and Good News for future episodes.HELP US SHIFT THE NARRATIVEInterested in partnering with The Lucky Few Podcast as a sponsor? Email hello@theluckyfewpodcast.com for more information!CHECK OUT HEATHER’S NEW BOOKScoot Over and Make Some Room: Creating a Space Where Everyone Belongs by Heather Avis is NOW available on Amazon.Head to Youtube and subscribe to The Lucky Few’s NEW Channel: In Search of The Lucky Few. Click here to start watching now!--- Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/theluckyfewpod/support
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